It’s Apple Cup week, and you know what that means — rounding up the records, rolling down the windows and throwing said records out said windows, writes Bob Condotta in his Seattle Times Husky Football blog.
Though the way the Cougars and Huskies are going these days, they’d probably earn a fine for littering in the process.
For the third straight year, neither Washington nor Washington State has a winning record entering their annual rivalry game at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Husky Stadium — UW at 3-7, WSU at 1-10.
In fact, only once since 2003 has either team come into the game better than .500 — WSU at 6-5, falling to 6-6 when the Huskies won 35-32 in 2006.
It doesn’t help soothe the pain to know that just to the south, Oregon and Oregon State are gearing up for one of the biggest Civil Wars ever Dec. 3, the winner assured a spot in the Rose Bowl.
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When Washington quarterback Jake Locker was a freshman in 2007, he rushed for 986 yards and 14 touchdowns. He was playing for former coach Tyrone Willingham and offensive coordinator Tim Lappano, who basically threw Locker out there to run a version of street ball.
Now that Steve Sarkisian is Washington’s head coach, he’s placed great emphasis on keeping Locker in the pocket and minimizing the number of hits his quarterback absorbs from defenders.
The desire to keep Locker healthy is understandable. But as the 2009 season has moved into November, the Washington offense is digressing. The team is now 3-6 and the odds for a bowl game are fading for a 7th consecutive season.
It’s time for Sarkisian to call an additonal 10 runs for Locker per game, and use Locker’s greatest strength (his mobility) as an asset for an offense that desperately needs more productivity while keeping the other team’s offense off the field.
… or something akin.
Washington’s all-time record against its Northwest foes may be 178-101-15, but you wouldn’t know it from the way Oregon carved up the Husky defense yesterday like a Thanksgiving Turkey. From that abysmal performance, it seems Washington has not closed the gap with Oregon, who has whipped Washington six years in a row.
With the hopes of a bowl game fading to black, UW’s first year coach Steve Sarkisian needs to conjur up new ways to get the team motivated. Long-time Husky fans can remember when former coach Rick Neuheisel conjured up the idea of the “Northwest Championship” to infuse motiviation into his 4-5 team. That team responded by going 3-0 against Oregon, Oregon State and Washington State.
In Sarkisian’s case, the loss to Oregon nullifies the possibility of going 3-0. But he needs to provide them with a realistic goal to strive for. Yesterday against Oregon, the team seemed to regress to the same defeated body language and effort that pockmarked the Tyrone Willimgham era.
Rick Neuheisel’s Northwest Championship
It might not be remembered as a particularly important play and it certainly wasn’t noteworthy for it’s outcome, but when the Steve Sarkisian era at the University of Washington began on Saturday, Sept. 5, against Louisiana State it did so with Jake Locker dropping back to pass.
The message was loud and clear: Locker’s evolution from elite athlete to elite quarterback starts now.
Read more: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/601/story/1066298.html